Yes, Lovie Smith is the newest head coach of the Houston Texans. Based on yesterday’s poll, this news was met with a polarized “meh” of perceived potential. The fanbase appears to be 50/50 on whether or not this is “THE HIRE” that will allow the Texans to finally succeed.
Now, we’re all smart enough to know this team is lacking far more than just a quality head coach. Things like solid ownership, a great roster, a cohesive vision shared by all, and a lack of meddling by Grima Wormtongue are all prerequisites for getting an NFL team to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately there’s not much Smith can do about any of those factors. In the words of Bill O’Brien, he can only control what he can control.
So, let’s control what we can control and look for some positives here on this fine hump day.
Top Ten Reasons Lovie Smith Was the Right Hire
1. Lovie Smith was the most qualified candidate.
When you look at the pool, only former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores had previous head coaching experience, and he never head coached a championship game, much less a Super Bowl. Sure it’s been a hot minute since Lovie was there with eh Chicago Bears, but if he can somehow get this dumpster fire of a team to the promised land, he can easily act like he’s been there before - because he has.
2. The players seem to love him.
Lovie Smith. Football Professional. Leader. Sharing credit. Uplifting others. Welcoming. Acknowledging his obligation to fans, community, NFL.— Stephanie Stradley (@StephStradley) February 8, 2022
Let’s face it, Lovie Smith seems like a really cool cat. And, judging from some of the player’s responses on Twitter, the core of this Texans roster agrees. Lovie doesn’t present the risk of having a player-leader blow up at him Ala J.J. Watt and Bill O’Brien. And, players will normally play harder for a coach they love and respect than for one they don’t.
3. Lovie Smith brings continuity that is the foundation of any solid team.
Since Lovie entered the building this time last year, he has a leg up on the other candidates. He knows how to navigate the various relationships, already has a solid communication network established with existing team personnel and doesn’t have to learn all those behind the scenes ins and outs most people never think about in a head coaching hire.
4. Lovie Smith and Nick Caserio are on the same page.
When a head coach and general manger don’t see eye to eye, the team ends up suffering. Refer to the dark ages of Texans HC/GM relations, sub-section [NAME REDACTED} for more on that...
5. Lovie Smith elevated Pep Hamilton to offensive coordinator.
Having Pep Hamilton, the unsung hero of 2021, stick around to continue the development of rookie quarterback Davis Mills is huge. Hamilton had opportunities to leave, which would have introduced a new system for Davis Mills’ development, potentially setting the soon-to-be second year signal caller back quite some time. See “continuity” above.
6. Lovie Smith has the respect of the existing coaches.
While his resume isn’t John Madden’s or Bill Belichick’s, Smith is still a super bowl head coach. And, at the end of the day, there aren’t that many coaches out there in any sport who can point to a line on their CV that highlights participating in the big one.
7. Lovie Smith is a hire that speaks to NFL normalcy, not the McEasterby Clown College.
All of a sudden, the Texans feel like kind of an almost normal NFL team, which means we can start focusing on perfectly normal things, not weird or creepy at all stuff, like Kenny Pickett’s hand size.— Seth C. Payne (@SethCPayne) February 9, 2022
It’s no secret the inner workings of the Houston Texans front office is the laughing stock of the NFL. Owner Cal McNair plays video games on the floor of an office bereft of furniture, computers or any of the things a smart business person needs to do their job. Jack Easterby was promoted beyond his competency again and again and again to the point it's like taking the first week drive thru clerk at the local Whataburger and putting them in charge of General Mills. Smith comes from the more orthodox, this-is-how-it-should-be-done NFL world. He and Caserio should tip the decision making balance back to some sense of normalcy. Hopefully.
8. Lovie Smith will bring a scheme, a battle plan, and a road map for victory.
While Smith’s defensive system might not be suitable to stop modern day NFL offenses, at least he has one. David Culley, Hines Ward and Josh McCown aren’t at the same level as Smith in this regard. He understands what it takes to build a winning NFL team and hopefully through collaboration with Caserio, he can get the right players and at least get this team to middle of the pack level from the bottom feeders the Texans have been for the last few years.
9. Lovie Smith is an even keeled ship in a stormy sea.
Smith is not the sort to get rattled by the raging insanity around him. While high emotion, high passion coaches can often motivate those around them to greater heights, that same personality trait can often turn into friendly fire when the storm strikes. Kyle McEasterby’s nonsense will (hopefully) be met with mature wisdom grounded in a lifetime of NFL experience. Mentors like Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin, both even-keeled men who know how to keep calm amidst chaos, instilled that in Smith a long time ago.
10. Lovie Smith isn’t Josh McCown
If Houston had hired Josh McCown as the next head coach, it would have signaled the true nature of just how broken the Texans front office is these days. McCown’s only legit claim to to role: he’s Jack Exasterby’s bestie. Nepotism doesn’t win Super Bowls. Never has, never will.
Do you know who Bill Belichick’s best friend is? How about Tom Coughlin? Mike Tomlin? Most likely not because they were all smart enough to not hire their totally unqualified BFF to help run the team.
While there is little doubt McCown has potential to grow into a great coach, the fact that he’s made it no further than I did (a high school assistant coach), should immediately disqualify him for the job at this stage in his development. See #7 above.
There you have it. Ten reasons to celebrate right now. Are they the best reasons for a fanbase to have hope? Meh... but, they’re signs that this could have gone much, much worse.
At least now only 30 other NFL team’s fanbases will laugh at us, since the Bears fans have fond memories of Smith’s glory days.